House votes to ban TikTok; Bill now moves on to Senate

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Today, the push to ban the popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok in the U.S. was passed in the House by a 352-65 vote. The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act will now move to the Senate and possibly become law… if passed.

This bill prohibits distributing, maintaining, or providing internet hosting services for a foreign adversary-controlled application (e.g., TikTok). However, the prohibition does not apply to a covered application that executes a qualified divestiture as determined by the President.

Under the bill, a foreign adversary-controlled application is directly or indirectly operated by (1) ByteDance, Ltd. or TikTok (including their subsidiaries or successors); or (2) a social media company that is controlled by a foreign adversary and has been determined by the President to present a significant threat to national security. The prohibition does not apply to an application that is primarily used to post product reviews, business reviews, or travel information and reviews.

The bill authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate violations of the bill and enforce the bill’s provisions. Entities that violate the bill are subject to civil penalties based on the number of users.

The bill requires a covered application to provide a user with all available account data (including posts, photos, and videos) at the user’s request before the prohibition takes effect.

The bill gives the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia exclusive jurisdiction over any challenge to the bill. Further, a challenge to the bill must be brought within 165 days after the bill’s enactment date. A challenge to any action, finding, or determination under the bill must be brought within 90 days of the action, finding, or determination.